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Orchid87

Games ripping of other games' storylines

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We all know that Half-Life ripped off Doom's story and elaborated on it. But the way Doom 3 ripped it back is really funny. It's almost the same: you arrive to the research center, you're assigned to some job, shit happens, portals to the other world are open, you reach them, you travel to the other world, then you kill the big baddy in the end, and the hints are he's not the one commanding the evil forces. It's almost like Doom 3 was HL remake, not Doom 1.

Another extreme case is Quake 2 and Killzone 2. You're in the dropship landing on the enemy planet. The mission is to take out the enemy leader. Enemy has some big AA gun that destroys anything bigger than the dropship, and one of your missions is to destroy it. You also visit enemy's mining facilities where some important resource is harvested. The last levels are in the leader's rich palace where you take him out.
Also Killzone 2 environments really feel like they would fit a Quake 2 universe. Remember how Quake 4 was disappointing because it didn't capture that Quake 2 visual style? Killzone 2 is really close to Q2 in that regard.

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I don't think you can really talk about ripoffs when the discussed storylines are so generic it's clearly what one random programmer wrote on a napkin to serve as a backdrop for the real game.

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Quake 2 itself seems heavily inspired by several military sci-fi novels, especially the combat parts of Starship Troopers (coincidentally, the movie adaptation was released a month before Quake 2).

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Orchid87 said:

You're in the dropship landing on the enemy planet. The mission is to take out the enemy leader. Enemy has some big AA gun that destroys anything bigger than the dropship, and one of your missions is to destroy it.

The AA defense/drop ship thing is basically nothing more than a flimsy "here's why we didn't just send a bomber with a lot of nukes" excuse. Remember, the plot has to make a single-player FPS storyline make sense.

So, we get "for some reason, we can't send in enough troop and heavy materiel to wage a conventional war, so we're sending in a bunch of commandos instead."

The Half-Life/Doom 3 storyline is basically the same thing. It gives you a reason to be there, alone against the monsters. The difference is that instead of sending you alone into troubles, it sends you alone into boringness and then, shocking twist, trouble actually happens!

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So tell me, what kind of stories should games have to justify the player fighting alien invaders? It's not that easy, or even important, to come up with a totally unique and awesome storyline to back up your alien genocide.

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Neverwinter Nights 2 and Dragon Age had a lot of similar scenes. In the first chapter of both games you go into a swampy area searching for an artifact, while a mysterious woman stalks you who eventually ends up as a party member. Then shortly afterwards you're wandering a road and run into highwaymen who try to impose a toll on you. Later on in both games there's also a courtroom scene where witnesses are called and will vouch for you depending on what you did in the game earlier. There's even more but I can't recall at this point.

Metroid Prime also felt like the spiritual successor to Unreal, in fact it felt more like Unreal than the official sequel did. It was more in terms of atmosphere and environments than pure plot though (which is sparse in both). In both games you use a translator or scanner to decipher your surroundings and get exposition. The skaarj and space pirates are pretty much the same. At some point in both games you enter some sort of research facility where the boss fight is a geneticly enhanced skaarj/space pirate.

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How many films, books games, other(?) have had the storyline of "scientists do something bad and it's all gone horribly wrong"? It's such a common story line that I don't think any games with that kind of plot could really be considered ripping another's story - even if the plot does include details such as dimension jumping or whatever.

Therefore...

Orchid87 said:

We all know that Half-Life ripped off Doom's story and elaborated on it.

Do we know this? Has it been definitively stated anywhere?

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TvTropes is your best friend for such questions.

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Enjay said:

Do we know this? Has it been definitively stated anywhere?

Obviously we don't. But it's similarities are something that people like me take the opportunity to point out, whenever someone makes bold claims about HL being some sort of advancement in story, narrative and what have you. It's basically got the same story as Doom do. And the narrative in both are skin deep.

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Jodwin said:

So tell me, what kind of stories should games have to justify the player fighting alien invaders? It's not that easy, or even important, to come up with a totally unique and awesome storyline to back up your alien genocide.


"The Space Exploration program has found a planet with some interesting resource on it. However, it's full of dumb monsters who for some reasons object to our mineships dropping in and turning their beautiful countryside into industrial wastelands and giant open-sky carries. Nick Cheedy, chairman of SpaceCorp. and Vice President of the United Planets of Oligarchy, wants you to go there gun blazing and exterminate any native caught sabotaging our installations. Your pay is directly proportional to your body count. Try to make it spectacular, SpaceCorps' media division will broadcast your helmetcam on the Carnage News Network, so you have a thrill-seeking audience eager to see pwnage galore and gibsplosions aplenty. Good luck!"

What?

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Certain formulas just work well. I know I might ruffle a few feathers by saying this but I never except a game to give me a completely new and fresh premise or story that has never been thought of before. I'm fine with HL being very similar to Doom even if it wasn't intentional. It was an adequate vehicle to make a great game out of.

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The idea that Doom's incredibly vague story (it's more of a setting than a story, to be honest) can be ripped off at all is laughable. Half-Life actually does have a storyline, hence the linear progression throughout realistic areas. The fact that it's a sci-fi about futuristic facilities being invaded almost at random by otherworldly creatures being teleported in due to a catastrophic failure of an experiment causing some sort of space/time-fucking is just down to it being a very simple setting that lends itself very well to an FPS.

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Games don't need stories. But they tend to take ideas from one another and movies. Personally, I dislike it when I think oh wow this story feels like that story when that story did it better than this story.

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kristus said:

Obviously we don't. But it's similarities are something that people like me take the opportunity to point out, whenever someone makes bold claims about HL being some sort of advancement in story, narrative and what have you. It's basically got the same story as Doom do. And the narrative in both are skin deep.


They have indeed deviated from that and retconned everything to shit, even as far as making a useless NPC character from the first game a vital character to the story.

But it was a fun game anyway.

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GeckoYamori said:

Later on in both games there's also a courtroom scene where witnesses are called and will vouch for you depending on what you did in the game earlier.

Probably pinched that idea from this game, where the witnesses' testimony largely determines the player's fate.

"Depending on how well the player performs, there are four possible endings. Robin Hood can be hanged for his crimes, given a pardon but no other reward, pardoned and offered a job in the king's service (but denied Maid Marian's hand), or he can be granted a noble title and married to Maid Marian."

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I think bitching about "ripping off" is pretty silly. It's all about presentation. Doom 1 and HL1 have similar stories, but they portray them in completely different ways. Doom 1 doesn't give much of a shit about the plot outside of the intermission texts, but HL1 presents elements such as the military trying to "clean up" the initial disaster, a group of scientists in a bunker that've determined the source of the problem, and various survivors that are trying to escape in their own ways.

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